Sam Jones, Sharpshooting Celtics Star of the 1960s, Dies at 88


Sam Jones, the Boston Celtics’ sharpshooting Hall of Fame guard who performed on 10 N.B.A. championship groups, a milestone exceeded solely by his teammate Bill Russell, died on Thursday in Florida. He was 88.

His loss of life was introduced by a Celtics spokesman, who didn’t specify a trigger however mentioned that Jones had been in failing well being. He additionally didn’t say the place in Florida he died, however Jones had been dwelling in the Orlando space.

When Jones was chosen by the Celtics out of the traditionally Black North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University) in the first spherical of the 1957 draft — he was the eighth participant chosen total — he was extra astonished and apprehensive than thrilled. Since gamers at Black faculties had gained little nationwide discover at the time, he seen himself as a possible pioneer, although he questioned his probabilities of making a Celtics lineup brimming with stars.

“I had a lot of pressure put on me,” Jones advised The Boston Globe in 2009. “We didn’t have scouts coming in to see what the Black colleges were doing. If I make good, they’re going to start looking into the Black colleges.”

Despite his doubts, Jones shortly impressed Coach Red Auerbach. He went on to crew with Ok.C. Jones (no relation), a tenacious defender, in a backcourt pairing that finally changed that of Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, two of the N.B.A.’s best gamers of the Nineteen Fifties. The Joneses grew to become half of a record-setting run alongside Russell, who reworked the heart place along with his rebounding and protection, the forwards Tom Heinsohn, John Havlicek and Satch Sanders, and Cousy and Sharman of their remaining seasons.

Sam Jones performed on Celtics groups that gained eight consecutive N.B.A. championships (1959 to 1966) and one other two in 1968 and 1969. A five-time All-Star, he was referred to as Mr. Clutch for the many baskets he scored in the remaining seconds of playoff video games. His complete of 10 championship rings has been exceeded solely by Russell’s 11.

Jones was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1984 and was named one of the 50 best gamers in N.B.A. historical past when the league celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1996. He as soon as held the Celtics’ single-game scoring document, with 51 factors in opposition to the Detroit Pistons in October 1965. When he retired after 12 seasons, he was the crew’s profession scoring chief, with 15,411 factors. Larry Bird is the present single-game record-holder, with 60 factors, and Havlicek holds the profession scoring document, with 26,395.

Jones was famend for utilizing the backboard when most gamers had been taking pictures immediately at the hoop.

“Sam showed them how to use the bank shot,” Auerbach as soon as advised United Press International. “He made it popular, and he made it an art.”

Jones had supreme confidence in that shot. As he put it, “I felt it was like making a layup.”

Samuel Jones was born on (*88*) 24, 1933, in Wilmington, N.C. At North Carolina College, enjoying for the Hall of Fame coach John B. McLendon in a Division II program, he was a high quality shooter, scoring a complete of 1,170 factors, and an excellent rebounder.

Auerbach had by no means seen Jones play in school. But he drafted him when Bones McKinney, a North Carolinian and one of Auerbach’s former gamers, raved about him. Jones had deliberate to turn out to be a trainer however tried his luck at the Celtics’ coaching camp.

He was a reserve for a number of seasons earlier than taking up for Sharman. Though he was 6-foot-4, tall for a guard at the time, he was faster than many smaller guards.

When he noticed Russell about to snare an offensive rebound, Jones would transfer away from the man defending him, who was watching the ball, and prepare to snare a go from Russell and convert it right into a financial institution shot. As he advised, “You only need a second to get a shot off.”

Jones retired from the Celtics in 1969 and was later head coach at Federal City College in Washington (now the University of the District of Columbia) and at North Carolina Central. He was an assistant coach for the N.B.A.’s New Orleans Jazz.

Jones and his spouse, Gladys, had 5 youngsters. Information on survivors was not instantly out there.

Jones averaged 17.7 factors a recreation in the common season for the Celtics, however he was significantly harmful in the playoffs. He hit a soar shot over the Philadelphia Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain in the remaining seconds of Game 7 in the 1962 Eastern Division playoff remaining, giving Boston a 109-107 victory. He had 5 of the Celtics’ 10 additional time factors in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the league finals, serving to to propel Boston to a fourth consecutive championship.

Jones relished getting the finest of the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain.

“I never challenged him by trying to drive right on him — he’d just block your shot,” he advised Terry Pluto for the N.B.A. oral historical past “Tall Tales” (1992). “I’d stop in front of him and shoot over him. Then I talked to him. I talked to everybody on the court, but it was a lot of fun to say things to Wilt because he’d react to them.”

In a fight-filled fourth quarter of Game 5 in that Celtics-Warriors sequence, Jones collided with Chamberlain, who outweighed him by practically 50 kilos, they usually exchanged unpleasantries. When Chamberlain grabbed at Jones’s wrist — maybe in a peace gesture — Jones ran off the courtroom.

“He saw Wilt still coming after him, so Sam picked up one of the photographers’ chairs and held it out at Wilt as if Sam were a lion tamer,” the referee Norm Drucker recalled.

“He was about to go up into the stands — he didn’t want to fight,” recalled Chamberlain, the strongest man in professional basketball. “So I said, ‘Ah, forget it.’”